I was green before green was hip. In the mid 1990s I used cloth diapers on my babies. I have always used both sides of 8 ½ by 11 paper before recycling it, so
I’m one of the few who actually likes junk mail. Free paper! In my old house five composters were biodegrading all at one time, which is probably driving the new owners nuts. I love my clothesline. I have always loved hunting through thrift stores. I saved empty milk bags to use as freezer bags. And I take my bicycle, complete with the child trailer behind, to the grocery store. It’s too small for my kids, but it will do when I just need to pick up a few things.
I did all these things before David Suzuki (for my American friends, he's the Canadian equivalent of Al Gore) started lecturing us about them. But I didn’t do these things just for the environment. I did them because I’m cheap. The environmental benefits were just a nice added bonus.
I think everybody should be into the environment because then everybody wins: those who live near landfills; those who love the wilderness; those who want to breathe clean air; and those who are trying to make ends meet.
Yet while I like being green, I’m not a green fanatic. I can’t get too excited about global warming when the earth hasn’t actually warmed since 1998. Personally, I’m much more concerned with the fact that we might all jump on the global warming bandwagon so much that we’ll wreck our economy in the process, and thus relegate the Third World to permanent abject poverty. And with the current rush to biofuels inflating food prices, many are already hovering on the brink of starvation.
The Suzukis of the world tell us we have to sacrifice now because so many will die later, but many are dying now. Aren’t their lives worth something? And whether or not he cares to admit it, there isn’t a scientific consensus about global warming and its causes.
But the other reason I’m not a green fanatic is because so many who are green fanatics are hypocritical. I am sick of seeing rich actors and actresses jet all over the world and then preach to us about how they are saving the world by buying carbon offsets, unlike the rest of us plebes. Do you know whose carbon footprint is really mall? My mother-in-law’s. She doesn’t drive. She doesn’t jump on a jet on a whim. She doesn’t buy junk, and she’s even getting over her Santa habit at Christmastime. She lives in a regular sized house and tries to keep her energy bill low. She doesn’t have a hot tub, or a sauna, or a home theatre. She’s not constantly buying bottled water; she drinks what’s in her tap. And she recycles and composts and gardens galore.
Al Gore, on the other hand, travels galore. He flew to Bali, with all the other global warming gurus, to talk about how we are wrecking the planet by our carbon emissions. The world’s media went to Bali, too, bringing the grand total to 10,000 people, and leaving a carbon footprint equal to that of a city of about 3,000,000 people in one day.
If the world is honestly in dire straits, why does Al Gore still have a twenty room mansion? Why did David Suzuki travel across the country in a diesel bus, rather than giving Internet seminars? Why did Prince Charles jet to New York to receive a green award from Al Gore? Why do Gore and Suzuki own more than one home? Why don’t they practice what they preach?
Green is now the “in” thing, and the rich are embracing it. But those who are really green aren’t rich. They’re just everyday folks sorting their recyclables, turning their heat down at night to save on energy bills, and camping in the summer rather than flying to Fiji. If these guys want to convince us global warming is enough of a threat that we should wreck our economy and starve the Third World, maybe they should give up the high life and start living the way we do. Then maybe we’d believe them more. Until then, I’d rather fight for the rights of those being preyed upon by higher food prices. That’s an immediate threat that there is no denying.